The Difference Between Oxford And Cambridge
6 min read

The Difference Between Oxford And Cambridge

6 min read
Uploaded on
Jan 4, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 8, 2023
Uploaded on
Jan 4, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 8, 2023
Oxford vs Cambridge
Clash in the Russell Clan!

Oxford and Cambridge are two of the world's most famous, elite universities, each claiming to be the best. But which is really better? What is the difference between Oxford and Cambridge? Is it the high academic rankings? Famous alumni? Or the beauty of the architecture? This blog will look at a few categories, from student satisfaction to international students and the bar controversy, to tell you the difference between Oxford and Cambridge! 

The United Kingdom is home to two of the best-known universities in the world: the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Though these educational institutions are each prestigious enough on their own, they're often compared in terms of academic performance, course offerings, and overall campus experience. This article will tell you the difference between Oxford and Cambridge, including factors such as university rankings, educational and living costs, and academic offerings. 

Oxford vs Cambridge

Cambridge vs Oxford has been a recurring theme since the former's founding in the 12th century. As the only two universities at the time, both had their fair share of students and intellectuals who lived on campus. The academic duopoly would reshape how education was delivered in the United Kingdom, with some ancient traditions still practised today. Despite their rivalry, the two universities have a lot in common. The colleges of Oxford and Cambridge are self-governing entities, each with its buildings, independent income, and distinct identity.

Both universities also have their own esteemed publishing houses, apply similar teaching methods, and carry about the same level of prestige and prominence as the two top universities in Europe based on the metrics of the three major ranking outfits. The similarities and long-standing rivalry between the two schools inspired the term "Oxbridge," a portmanteau of Oxford and Cambridge universities that is now widely used in the United Kingdom and around the world. Let us look at the differences between Oxford and Cambridge by understanding them first.

Overview of Oxford University

Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, with an unknown founding date and the earliest documented teaching dating back to 1096—(University of Oxford, n.d.). Even though there is no main campus, the university is home to 44 colleges and the largest library system in the United Kingdom (Top Universities, n.d.). Currently, the school has over 20,000 students, 40% of whom are from outside the United Kingdom.

Overview of Cambridge university

Oxford and Cambridge are regarded as Europe's and the world's educational pinnacles. One ranking service places them at the very top, while the other two places both schools among the top ten in the world. This does not necessarily imply that Oxford is the superior university overall, given that the two institutions do not have completely identical course offerings, and the difference is marginal in all three ranking systems.

World University Ranking 

Oxford and Cambridge are widely regarded as the pinnacle of education in Europe and around the world. One ranking service has them at the very top, while the other two consider both schools among the world's top ten. This does not necessarily imply that Oxford is the superior university; overall, the two institutions do not have completely identical course offerings. The difference between Cambridge and Oxford is marginal in all three ranking systems.

Oxford vs Cambridge: Courses Offered

One of the biggest differences between Oxford and Cambridge lies in their course offerings. While both universities have many overlaps in the courses offered, some courses are unique to each. How some joint courses are packaged also varies. Education: Both Oxford and Cambridge offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs focusing on research-based learning. However, Oxford has a more traditional teaching style, with lectures and tutorials, while Cambridge has a more interactive approach, with seminars and small group discussions. Let's take a deep dive into the courses offered and their ranking to see the difference between Cambridge and Oxford.

Oxford vs Cambridge: Admission Requirements

Another difference between Oxford and Cambridge is that they have very competitive admission processes, with a high bar for grades and academic achievements. In addition to transcripts and test scores, both universities also consider other factors such as personal statements, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities. 

Cost of Education and Living

Oxford and Cambridge are very expensive universities, with tuition fees and living costs significantly higher than other UK universities. However, both universities offer financial aid and scholarship programs to help students cover the cost of their education. One thing If you are an international student, the tuition fees you will pay will massively vary depending on the course you decide to study. 

It is pricey to live in Oxford and Cambridge (rent and house prices will blow your head out), yet the colleges mean that actual living expenses are discounted for students. It becomes extremely necessary to budget for the likes of living costs, food and books. You will have to check out the cost of living in Oxford and Cambridge for you to make a budget

Scholarships and Bursaries

One difference between Oxford and Cambridge is the scholarships and bursaries provided by the colleges. There are a few common scholarships that the UK gives out, like the Chevening scholarship and Commonwealth scholarships! But both colleges give out high-end scholarships and bursaries that can change your life and make your career! 

Scholarships provided by the University of Oxford

These are the scholarships provided by the University of Oxford

  1. Hill Foundation Scholarship
  2. Bright Oceans Corporation Scholarship
  3. Palgrave Brown Scholarship
  4. Reach Oxford Scholarship
  5. Dr Ateh Jewel Foundation Awards 

Scholarships provided by the University of Cambridge

These scholarships show the difference between Oxford and Cambridge!

  1. Aker Scholarship 
  2. Beit Cambridge Scholarship
  3. Cambridge International Scholarship
  4. Marshall PhD Scholarship
  5. Cambridge Trust Scholarship

Oxford vs Cambridge Sports Competitions

The Oxford vs Cambridge rivalry is well-known. So, it's understandable that there is frequent competition between the two outside of academic rankings. The universities often compete annually in lots of sports, including cricket, ice hockey and polo. The most famous is The Boat Race, an annual set of rowing races between the two universities on the River Thames. Sometimes known as the University Boat Race or the Oxford vs Cambridge Boat race. Other big competitions between Oxford and Cambridge include the Rugby Union and Rugby League Varsity Match. 

In conclusion, Oxford and Cambridge are both world-class universities with a long history of academic excellence. While Oxford vs Cambridge have some differences in their teaching styles and admission requirements, they are both excellent choices for students looking for a top-quality education.

Frequently Asked Questions